Our science team believes this to be a foraminifera, but for awhile, we were unable to identify this strange-looking “sunburst” organism.

Our science team believes this to be a foraminifera, but for awhile, we were unable to identify this strange-looking "sunburst" organism. Image courtesy of the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, Exploring Puerto Rico’s Seamounts, Trenches, and Troughs. Download larger version (jpg, 1.0 MB).

Dive 11: Exocet Seamount
April 28, 2015
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Dive 11: Exocet Seamount

Highlights from Dive 11 on Exocet Seamount, northwest of St. Croix. Video courtesy of the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, Océano Profundo 2015: Exploring Puerto Rico’s Seamounts, Trenches, and Troughs. Download (mp4, 74.7 MB)

Today we dove on Exocet Seamount, located northwest of St. Croix. The dive began with five midwater transects conducted for 10 minutes every 100 meters in depth, from 800-1,200 meters. During these transects, ROV Deep Discoverer (D2) observed several empty larvacean houses, a few ctenophores, arrow worms, jellyfish, midwater fishes, and a fantastic organism that we believe to be a foraminiferan that looked like a sunburst. ROV Deep Discoverer landed on a sedimented seafloor with little fauna at a depth of 2,898 meters. As we transited up slope, we encountered manganese-encrusted carbonate rocks exhibiting evidence of possible cleavage and folding. Corals observed during this dive included a cup coral, one black coral, two bamboo corals, and two other octocorals. Also observed were at least eight species of fish, four sea star species, shrimp, squat lobsters, and several species of glass sponges. Of note, several items of trash (e.g., plastic, rusty steel cans) were seen, particularly in the beginning of the dive.